Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Can Paganism Ever Be Post-Personal?

Jay's Creative Spirituality pod at Zaadz has an interesting discussion about whether or not pagan practices can ever be transpersonal, especially when one considers that most pagan traditions stem from the Purple and Red meme periods of human evolution. Even now, most pagan traditions are regressive in that they try to revive Purple meme magic and animism. Jay suggests, and I agree, that this need not be so.

What follows is my attempt to suggest that there is way to determine where such practices might fall on prepersona/personal/postpersonal spectrum. It was posted to the pod this morning.
Before becoming a mostly full-time Buddhist, I was heavily involved in shamanic studies, Wicca's twin brother, so to speak. I think of both areas of study as essentially pagan (pagan mostly meaning non-Christian to many folks).

Regarding this: Thats pretty much a litmus test for a pre/trans theory of wicca - was it created, or was it 'passed down'?

I would argue that the real test is different:

1) Does the belief system rely on a pre-rational belief that spells and incantations can change manifest reality? Does the system worship gods and goddesses as individual entities existing in time and space? If so, prerational or prepersonal.

2) Does the belief system see “magic” and other forms of devotional acitivies as methods of affecting interior change, i.e., reprogramming the psyche in some way? Does the system view gods and goddesses as manifestations of interior states, of human traits writ large? If so, rational or personal.

3) Does the belief system see ritual and other forms of devotional activities as methods of accessing archetypal energies, what Wilber might view as involutionary forms? Does the system view worship of archetypal forms (gods or goddesses) as ways to transcend ego consciousness and experience transpersonal states beyond the confines of ego and personal concerns. If so, post-rational or post-personal.

4) Does the belief system allow for the experience of all three? If so, then integral.

That's my first-pass take on this issue. Is this worth refining into a more coherent statement?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated, either here or at Zaadz (if you are not a member, yet, why not?).

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